The FAVRM Winter Forum in Pensacola on February 21-23 was a huge success! We had record setting participation with 81 individuals from throughout Florida who benefited from the breadth of information, new insights and knowledge gained through their participation. Presentations and panel discussions covered all phases of Emergency Management as well as health emergencies and engagement opportunities in the work of regional domestic security task forces.
Day One began with presentations on opportunities for volunteers and voluntary organizations to partner in the work of Emergency Management and included engagement opportunities with Voluntary and Community Organizations Active in Disaster. Participants learned about the vital role of their Regional Domestic Security Taskforce in protecting from terrorist attacks. Some participants were surprised to learn that Medical Reserve Corps programs offer opportunities for non-medical volunteers to serve alongside professional and paraprofessional volunteers during health emergencies. Day One concluded with perspectives on lessons learned from the 2017 Hurricane Season from the view point of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, local emergency managers, Volunteer Florida and academia.
Day Two began with a presentation of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program from the perspective of Volunteer Florida that administers the State’s $300,000 grant program along with insight from a highly successful local CERT program. The day continued with presentations on Emergency Support Function 15 – Volunteers and Donations, from both the State and local level, with examples of efforts that generated over $17.7 million in volunteer service and donated goods and services. The day continued with representatives from four voluntary organizations providing examples of ways volunteers can contribute to disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts. Participants learned about the role of voluntary and faith-based organizations in disaster recovery and the resources available to support disaster preparedness, response and recovery from federal, state and local government and other organizations. The day concluded with a presentation on a national best practice example of a non-profit organization leading the most ambitious home hardening program in the country, that is matching homeowner provided funds with federal funds at a ratio of $1 contributed with $3 in federal funds that are projected to provide $6 in future savings for every dollar spent on hardening a home.
Day Three concluded the Forum with breakout sessions providing participants an opportunity to gain answers to their questions with the support of subject matter experts on Mass Care, Volunteers and Donations, Long Term Recovery, Citizen Corps and CERT. The closing evaluation revealed the high level of learning that had occurred during the three-day Forum.
Many thanks go to Greg Strader of BRACE who organized the Forum and the many presenters and panelists who brought depth and breadth of knowledge to everyone who participated. Thank you!!!